Shinzo Maeda, a Photographic Explorer Seeking Color: The Quest for New Discoveries
[Image: ©Shinzo Maeda, "Tankei"]
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Shinzo Maeda was a photographer who determined the course of Japanese landscape photography in the 1970s. His unique style captures nature with a sophisticated sense of form, discovering new beauty in the Japanese landscape, and has influenced many landscape photographers until the present day. The beautiful hilly landscapes of Biei and Kamifurano in Hokkaido have become widely known as a result of Maeda discovering their beauty and publicizing it in the form of photographic works. Born in 1922 in what is now the city of Hachioji in Tokyo, Maeda worked first in a trading company, then founded Tankei Photo Agency Co., Ltd. in 1967, where he started his photographic activities with a business renting out and selling photographs as products. It was in 1971 that his destiny changed. This change was prompted by his stopping off at the town of Biei in Hokkaido on his way home from a three-month photography trip during which he traveled the entire length of Japan. There he saw hills rolling endlessly into the distance and colorful land dotted with trees. This vast hilly landscape filled Maeda with powerful inspiration, and he subsequently pioneered a new field of landscape photography drawing on his own unique style. The exhibition will be divided into two parts to display landscape photographs representing two periods in Maeda’s photographic life: the monochrome photographs with which he started, and the color photographs for which he is best known. The first part, entitled “The Home Village Period,” will show works shot in the 1950s and 1960s depicting Maeda’s home village of Ongata in Tokyo, and other rustic country scenes from all over Japan. The second part, entitled “The Hills Period,” will show works shot after his first encounter with the hills of Biei in 1971. This part features the dye transfer prints* that Maeda created with particularly close attention to detail. This large collection of photographs, starting with scenes of Maeda’s fondly remembered birthplace and taken over a period of around 40 years, allows viewers to experience the rich scenic exploration that Maeda pursued so diligently. His aesthetic, his philosophy, and even his way of life, honed by Maeda himself through his own photographic experience, are condensed in this substantial oeuvre. Maeda observed that “thoughts are limited, but feelings are without limits.” These words bring to mind the sight of land extending limitlessly into the distance, and combined with scenes that retain their eternal allure in the form of photographs, they are sure to awaken an esthetic sensibility that we had all but forgotten.
Venue: The Photo History Museum at FUJIFILM SQUARE
from November 01, 2018 to February 28, 2019